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‘Smartphone driving’ is more dangerous than drink driving

Written by Susan Care

Posted on March 9, 2012

New research has found that ‘smartphoning’ behind the wheel can put car drivers and passengers more at risk than drunk driving or being high on cannabis.

The arrival of the smartphone has revolutionised the world of communication. Brits use them all the time, even when they are behind the wheel. However, new research has found how dangerous this habit is.

The IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) has revealed that using smartphones while driving can put people more at risk than driving under the effects of alcohol or cannabis.

Missing key events while on the road is more likely when you are distracted by high tech devices.

Driving while sending and receiving Facebook messages, for instance, has been proved to decrease drivers’ reaction times by 38%. The research showed that motorists were also unable to maintain a central lane position or to respond quickly to other cars’ changes in speeds.

Further results from the study revealed that using a smartphone for social networking reduced reaction times by 37.6%, texting decreased it by 37.4% and a hands-free mobile phone conversation slowed the reaction times by 26.5%.

The Negative effects of Phone vS. Drugs

In a comparison between the effects of using ‘smartphones’ over drugs while driving, the new technology proved the most dangerous for drivers. Cannabis reduces reaction times by 21%; alcohol (above the UK driving limit but below 100mg per 100ml of blood) slows it by 6-15%; and alcohol at the legal limit decreases driving reaction times by 12.5%.

In fact, ‘smartphone’ driving can increase the number of accidents occurring on UK roads. Having car insurance in place is therefore essential to ensure you are protected in cases of road incidents.

It is important to remember, however, that your insurer can invalidate your policy if you have modified your car in any way, such as introducing misc engine alterations or transmission changes.

Modifying your car once an initial policy is agreed can cancel your agreement since it could be considered a violation of the contract’s terms and conditions. This is why you should let your insurer know as soon as possible or find car insurance online that makes provisions for car modification.